203rd MPs heading to Iraq
A departure ceremony for the 70-member unit is set for June 19 at 4 p.m. on Beasley Field at Athens State University. In case of inclement weather, the program will be moved to the gym of Athens Middle School.
Athens Mayor Dan Williams will attend the ceremony along with Lt. Col. Charles H. Buxton, commander of the 203rd MP Battalion. Brig. Gen. Charles Gailes, Jr., commander of the 31st Chemical Brigade, and Maj. Gen. A.C. Blalock, adjutant general of Alabama, will attend along with State Sen. Tom Butler.
The 203rd heads to Fort Bliss, Texas for specialized training before shipping overseas. In Iraq, the unit will perform military police security missions. More than 300 members of two companies from the 203rd MP Battalion served in Iraq from mid-2006 to October 2007.
The general public is invited and encouraged to attend the ceremony to show support for Soldiers of the 203rd and members of their families.
More than 14,300 Alabama Army and Air Guard members have been called to active duty since Sept. 11, 2001.